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Overview of vegetation
management – VAST as a solution
Richard Thackway
Lecture presented to ADFA Geography students, Canb...
Outline
• Perceptions
• Definitions
• Land management and vegetation
• Effects of managing native vegetation
• Reporting c...
• Diverse and healthy native vegetation is important
• My vegetation is in good condition
• My water is my asset
• My soil...
What is vegetation use and management?
• Land use determines primary purpose for land cover types e.g.
– Forestry is typif...
What are management practices?
• Remove life form/s &/or species e.g. tree, shrub, grass
– e.g. push out, pull out, cut of...
What is vegetation condition?
• Vegetation condition is relative concept
• Context dependant
– Same patch can be assessed ...
Natural vegetation and the environment
• Environmental patterns and processes
– Environmental gradients
– Climate influenc...
Goals of land managers
Values and decisions matrix:
• Social
• Economic
• Environmental
Intensification
Degradation?
Goals of land managers
Values and decisions matrix:
• Social
• Economic
• Environmental
Extensification
Restoration
Regulation ofhydrologicalregime
Generation offood and fibre
Regulation ofclimate / microclimate
Generation ofraw materials...
How is vegetation condition info
is used in decision making?
1. Characterise status & trends/ identify problems with
resou...
Vegetation management & condition
What do land managers modify / replace/ remove?
– Vegetation structure
• Life form (tree...
Natural vegetation and land use
• Land use and vegetation
– Single use
– Multiple uses
• Intensification of land use
– Min...
Species
Composition



Growth
Form



% Foliage Cover
Height
U
M
G
NVIS Data Model
Natural vegetation for nature con...
Species
Composition



Growth
Form



% Foliage Cover
Height
U
M
G
NVIS Data Model
Natural vegetation for defence tr...
Species
Composition

Growth
Form

% Foliage Cover
Height
U
M
G
NVIS Data Model
Land management for grazing
Species
Composition

Growth
Form

% Foliage Cover
Height
U
NVIS Data Model
Land management for plantation forestry
How to report vegetation
management at different scales?
• Site modification of plant communities
– species composition
– ...
Vegetation States Assets and Transitions (VAST) framework
VIVIVIIIIII0
Native vegetation
cover
Non-native vegetation
cover...
Modification
Fragmentation
Conceptual framework for understanding
vegetation condition and landscape change
Intact
>90%
Va...
p142-02
p142-18
p143
Monitoring & reporting at sites - poplar box woodlands (Central Qld)
VAST I
• Freehold no grazing
• M...
Vegetation condition – a snapshot
Thackway & Lesslie (2008)
Environmental Management, 42, 572-90
Landscape alteration levels – a snapshot
LALs derived using a 2.5 km
Input VAST national 1 km
Continental 2.5k Moving Wind...
Regional reporting of change in vegetation type and
condition using VAST
IBRA subregions - Major Vegetation Groups - Veget...
A system for scoring effects of management over time relative to
a reference states for indicators of vegetation condition...
VASTTRANS uses the historical record to track
the effects of managing native vegetation
• Site modification of plant commu...
Approximate
year
Source:
Year
LU & LMP Source:
LU & LMP
Effects of use and
management on vegetation
condition and ecologic...
1
3
10
22
VAST
Diagnostic
attributes
Vegetation
Transformation
score
Attribute
groups
Vegetation
Structure
Overstorey
(3)
...
RC_fire_burnt_area RC_soil_hyd_surf_water RC_soil_biol_organ_matt
RC_reprod_potent_OS RC_reprod_potent_US
VS_OS_height VS_OS_fpc VS_OS_div_age_class
SC_US_fnl_groups SC_US_richness
1
3
10
22
Diagnostic
attributes
Vegetation
Transformation
score
Attribute
groups
Vegetation
Structure
Overstorey
(3)
Under...
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
1750 1800 1850 1900 1950 2000 2050
score(%)
year
Belconnen Naval Transmitter Station
Rege...
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
1750 1800 1850 1900 1950 2000 2050
score(%)
year
Belconnen Naval Transmitter Station
Rege...
NSW, Big Scrub, Rocky Creek Dam
Reference pre-European Complex Notophyll Vine Forest
Unmodified
and intact
Clearing and
co...
NSW, NC Bioregion, ‘Tintenbar’
Reference pre-European Complex Notophyll Vine Forest
Unmodified
and intact
rainforest
Clear...
Source: John Ive 2006
‘Talaheni’ 250 ha property near Murrumbateman, NSW
1962 1983 1986 1997 2004
Reporting VASTTRANS using VAST classes
‘Talaheni’ 250 ha property near
Murrumbateman, NSW
Reporting VAST condition states ‘Talaheni’
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
1962 1983 1986 1997 2004
Year of VAST assessment
hecta...
• Land managers play a major role in transforming native
vegetation types
• Arguably land managers should record their man...
Acknowledgements
Many people have helped in developing VAST
including staff from SEWPAC, DAFF, ABARES, state
and territory...
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Overview of vegetation management – VAST as a solution

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Overview of vegetation management – VAST as a solution. Presentation given to Australian Defence Force Academy students on 28 August 2012.

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Overview of vegetation management – VAST as a solution

  1. 1. Overview of vegetation management – VAST as a solution Richard Thackway Lecture presented to ADFA Geography students, Canberra on 28 August 2012 School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences, University of New South Wales
  2. 2. Outline • Perceptions • Definitions • Land management and vegetation • Effects of managing native vegetation • Reporting change in the condition of vegetation types • Reporting the transformation of plant communities • Importance of collecting information
  3. 3. • Diverse and healthy native vegetation is important • My vegetation is in good condition • My water is my asset • My soil is my asset • My animals are my asset • Vegetation is a means to an end – utilitarian • I want to hand my land in good condition to my children /future generations Some perceptions of land managers (public and private)
  4. 4. What is vegetation use and management? • Land use determines primary purpose for land cover types e.g. – Forestry is typified by forest veg cover types – Cropping is typified by annual veg cover types – Urban is typified by infrastructure cover types – Water harvesting is typified by many veg cover types – Defence training is typified by native veg cover types • Land management practices (LMP) = the how of land use
  5. 5. What are management practices? • Remove life form/s &/or species e.g. tree, shrub, grass – e.g. push out, pull out, cut off and chemically treat • Replace life form/s &/or species e.g. tree, shrub, grass – e.g. replant, rehabilitate, re-sow • Manage health & vitality of life form/s &/or species e.g. tree, shrub, grass – e.g. prune, stake, slash, fertilise, graze • Manage residues from life form/s &/or species e.g. tree, shrub, grass – e.g. burn grass, burn fine woody debris, bark, leaves
  6. 6. What is vegetation condition? • Vegetation condition is relative concept • Context dependant – Same patch can be assessed differently for purposes • Analogous to human health and the ‘norm’
  7. 7. Natural vegetation and the environment • Environmental patterns and processes – Environmental gradients – Climate influencers • Cycles - seasons, annual and decadal events – Dust, fires, cyclones, flood, drought, insects, pathogens – Interactions with other physical influencers • Landform, relief, aspect, geology, soil, hydrology • Observed drives veg patterns and processes – Productivity – Maintaining life cycles – reproduction, germination, establishment, growth, and death – Succession – Responses to perturbations and disturbances – Species, communities and ecosystems
  8. 8. Goals of land managers Values and decisions matrix: • Social • Economic • Environmental Intensification Degradation?
  9. 9. Goals of land managers Values and decisions matrix: • Social • Economic • Environmental Extensification Restoration
  10. 10. Regulation ofhydrologicalregime Generation offood and fibre Regulation ofclimate / microclimate Generation ofraw materials Recyclingoforganic matter Creating and regulatinghabitats Controllingreproductionand dispersal Changing ecological function to derive multiple benefits (ecosystem services)
  11. 11. How is vegetation condition info is used in decision making? 1. Characterise status & trends/ identify problems with resource condition and /or assets – What, where, when, why & who 2. Assist in setting goals, objectives, priorities, targets 3. Design & implement program/s – e.g. MBIs, regulation, education, investment, interventions, etc 4. Check on performance of on-ground of investment – e.g. Was the target met? Did land management change? 5. Report again on resource condition Adaptive management cycle 1 5 4 3 2
  12. 12. Vegetation management & condition What do land managers modify / replace/ remove? – Vegetation structure • Life form (tree:grass) • Growth stage /Age class • Height • Cover/density • Strata/layers/complexity – Species composition • Richness or number of species • Evenness of individuals per species • Functional traits – Regenerative capacity • Fire regime • Soil structure • Soil hydrology • Soil structure • Soil nutrients • Reproductive potential
  13. 13. Natural vegetation and land use • Land use and vegetation – Single use – Multiple uses • Intensification of land use – Minimal = Nature conservation, Defence training areas – Moderate = Pulse grazing, Selective logging forestry – High = Continuous or set stock grazing – Very high = Plantations, Cropping, Bomb target areas – Extreme = Water impoundments, Built infrastructure
  14. 14. Species Composition    Growth Form    % Foliage Cover Height U M G NVIS Data Model Natural vegetation for nature conservation
  15. 15. Species Composition    Growth Form    % Foliage Cover Height U M G NVIS Data Model Natural vegetation for defence training
  16. 16. Species Composition  Growth Form  % Foliage Cover Height U M G NVIS Data Model Land management for grazing
  17. 17. Species Composition  Growth Form  % Foliage Cover Height U NVIS Data Model Land management for plantation forestry
  18. 18. How to report vegetation management at different scales? • Site modification of plant communities – species composition – Vegetation structure – Regenerative capacity • Landscape levels – Patchiness – Fragmentation and connectivity
  19. 19. Vegetation States Assets and Transitions (VAST) framework VIVIVIIIIII0 Native vegetation cover Non-native vegetation cover Increasing vegetation modification Transitions = trend Vegetation thresholds Benchmark for each veg type (NVIS) VAST a framework – linking land management and native veg condition Condition states ResidualNaturally bare Modified Transformed Replaced - Adventive Replaced - managed Replaced - removed
  20. 20. Modification Fragmentation Conceptual framework for understanding vegetation condition and landscape change Intact >90% Variegated 60-90% retained Fragmented 10-60% retained Relictual <10% retained Native Unmodified Modified and retained Highly modified Destroyed VAST I Residual VAST 0 Naturally Bare VAST II Modified VAST III Transformed VAST IV Replaced – Adventive, VAST V Replaced – Managed VAST VI Removed McIntyre and Hobbs 1999
  21. 21. p142-02 p142-18 p143 Monitoring & reporting at sites - poplar box woodlands (Central Qld) VAST I • Freehold no grazing • Multiple strata, some emergents • Biomass ~120 t/ha • FPC ~ 52%, Max height ~ 24m • Spp OverS 3-5, MidS 5+, GroundS 5-10 • Regen - good VAST II • Freehold - grazing • Two strata • Biomass ~68 t/ha • FPC ~ 25%, Max height ~ 17m • Spp OverS 3, MidS 1, GroundS ~1-4 • Regen – Low-Moderate VAST III • Freehold - heavy grazing - mechanical thinning • Single, low height strata • Biomass ~42 t/ha • FPC ~ 20%, Max height ~ 13m • Spp OverS 3, MidS 0, GroundS ~1-4 • Regen – very low, > % bare ground
  22. 22. Vegetation condition – a snapshot Thackway & Lesslie (2008) Environmental Management, 42, 572-90
  23. 23. Landscape alteration levels – a snapshot LALs derived using a 2.5 km Input VAST national 1 km Continental 2.5k Moving Window Radius 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Intact Variegated Fragmented Relictual Landscape Alteration Level AverageProportion(%)ofVASTConditionState Residual* Modified Transformed Managed Removed Mutendeudzi and Thackway BRS 2010 VAST Classes
  24. 24. Regional reporting of change in vegetation type and condition using VAST IBRA subregions - Major Vegetation Groups - Vegetation Assets States Transitions 0.00% 20.00% 40.00% 60.00% 80.00% 100.00% 120.00% Acacia shrublands Casuarina forests and woodlands Chenopod shrublands, samphire shrubs and forblan Eucalyptus open woodlands Eucalyptus woodlands Heath Low closed forest and tall closed shrubland Mallee woodlands and shrublands Other shrublands #N/A Major Vegetation Groups 6 Removed 5 Replaced Native 3 Transformed 2 Modified 1 Residual 0 Residual Bare IBRAS_D Avon Wheatbelt - Avon Wheatbelt P1 Sum of COUNT MVG_D VAST_D Sub-IBRA & MVG & VAST (1km)
  25. 25. A system for scoring effects of management over time relative to a reference states for indicators of vegetation condition ACT, Belconnen Naval Transmission Station Illustrating 10 of 22 indicators VASTTRANS
  26. 26. VASTTRANS uses the historical record to track the effects of managing native vegetation • Site modification of plant communities – species composition – Vegetation structure – Regenerative capacity • History of use and management – Minimal = unmodified native veg & land cover – Moderate = modified native veg & land cover – High = transformed native veg & land cover – Very high = replace native veg & land cover – Extreme = remove native veg & land cover
  27. 27. Approximate year Source: Year LU & LMP Source: LU & LMP Effects of use and management on vegetation condition and ecological function Source: Effects 1800 1840 2010 VASTTRANS - compiling the historical record Pre-contact First contact Current year LU = Land Use, LMP = Land Management Practices
  28. 28. 1 3 10 22 VAST Diagnostic attributes Vegetation Transformation score Attribute groups Vegetation Structure Overstorey (3) Understorey (3) Species Composition (2) UnderstoreyOverstorey (2) Regenerative Capacity Fire (2) Reprod potent (2) Soil Hydrology (2) Biology (2) Chemistry (2) Structure (2) Indicators Indicators affected by managing native vegetation
  29. 29. RC_fire_burnt_area RC_soil_hyd_surf_water RC_soil_biol_organ_matt
  30. 30. RC_reprod_potent_OS RC_reprod_potent_US
  31. 31. VS_OS_height VS_OS_fpc VS_OS_div_age_class
  32. 32. SC_US_fnl_groups SC_US_richness
  33. 33. 1 3 10 22 Diagnostic attributes Vegetation Transformation score Attribute groups Vegetation Structure Overstorey (3) Understorey (3) Species Composition (2) UnderstoreyOverstorey (2) Regenerative Capacity Fire (2) Reprod potent (2) Soil Hydrology (2) Biology (2) Chemistry (2) Structure (2) Indicators Putting it together to tell a story
  34. 34. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 1750 1800 1850 1900 1950 2000 2050 score(%) year Belconnen Naval Transmitter Station Regenerative Capacity Vegetation Structure Species Composition Vegetation status
  35. 35. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 1750 1800 1850 1900 1950 2000 2050 score(%) year Belconnen Naval Transmitter Station Regenerative Capacity Vegetation Structure Species Composition Vegetation statusSheep grazing commenced Commenced continuous sheep grazing Sheep grazing ceased Limited management by Ngunnawal people Kangaroo population culled Kangaroo population increasing Woodland trees ringbarked Grass mowing started and stopped
  36. 36. NSW, Big Scrub, Rocky Creek Dam Reference pre-European Complex Notophyll Vine Forest Unmodified and intact Clearing and conversion to pasture Start of grazing exotic pasture End grazing pastures Removal of weeds Lantana - Privet Commenced monitoring of regeneration VAST classes 25 ha of dense Lantana
  37. 37. NSW, NC Bioregion, ‘Tintenbar’ Reference pre-European Complex Notophyll Vine Forest Unmodified and intact rainforest Clearing and conversion Start of grazing exotic pasture End of grazing pastures Rainforest seedlings under dense Camphor forest Start of ploughing & cropping VAST classes 28 ha of dense Camphor laurel forest
  38. 38. Source: John Ive 2006 ‘Talaheni’ 250 ha property near Murrumbateman, NSW
  39. 39. 1962 1983 1986 1997 2004 Reporting VASTTRANS using VAST classes ‘Talaheni’ 250 ha property near Murrumbateman, NSW
  40. 40. Reporting VAST condition states ‘Talaheni’ 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 1962 1983 1986 1997 2004 Year of VAST assessment hectares 2 31 32 33 5 6 H e ct a r e s
  41. 41. • Land managers play a major role in transforming native vegetation types • Arguably land managers should record their management actions and key observed effects for adaptive management +++ • Understanding the effects of use and management of native vegetation can be retrofitted to a historic record of management • VAST is a tool for reporting modification of veg condition across land uses as status reports at a range of scales • VASTTRANS is a tool for tracking the transformation of plant communities caused by use and management practices Conclusions
  42. 42. Acknowledgements Many people have helped in developing VAST including staff from SEWPAC, DAFF, ABARES, state and territory agencies, CSIRO, Greening Australia and regional bodies

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